Justine Greening will today outline four ambitions aimed at putting the improvement of social mobility “at the heart of all our education policy”.
The themes – which cover different phases of a person’s education – form part of the government’s new social mobility action plan, Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential.
The education secretary is expected to this morning tell a social mobility conference, organised by thinktank Reform, that the overarching ambition of the plan is “to leave no community behind”.
“The reality is that in modern Britain where you start too often decides where you finish,” she will say.
“This is a defining challenge for us as a nation. We have talent spread evenly across this great country – the problem is that opportunity is not.
'A whole life of missed opportunities'
“And for some people it’s a whole lifespan of missed opportunities. If you start school behind in your vocabulary and language skills, often you don’t catch up.
“By the time you leave primary school you can be on a different path to your better-off classmates, and by the time you’re 16 and leaving school you’re in a very different place.
“And, once you enter the workforce, you may well have fallen too far behind to compete for the most rewarding jobs.
“It’s always been like that for some people and some places in Britain. But it doesn’t have to be.”
The DfE said the four ambitions are:
- Closing the word gap: Boosting access to high-quality early language and literacy both in the classroom and at home;
- Closing the attainment gap: Raising standards for every pupil, supporting teachers early in their careers and providing clear pathways to progression, as well as getting more great teachers in areas where there remain significant challenges;
- Real choice at post-16: Creating world-class technical education, backed by £500 million in investment, and increasing the options for all young people, regardless of their background; and
- Rewarding careers for all: Boosting skills and confidence to make the leap from education into work, raising career aspirations. Building a new type of partnership with businesses to improve advice, information and experiences for young people.
The plan will include a consultation on proposals to strengthen qualified teacher status, with enhanced early careers support and professional development for teachers, particularly for those in challenging schools and areas.
The DfE will create a £23 million Future Talent Fund, which will trial new teaching approaches to support the education of the most-able children from less well-off communities.
The plan will also see £50 million allocated to improve nursery school provision in some of the most challenging areas.